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Judge — "Making Available" Is Stealing Music

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-i-can-hack-into-your-computer-are-you-liable dept.

The Courts 489

JonathanF writes "If you were hoping judges would see reason and realize that just using a program that could violate copyright law is about as illegal as leaving your back door unlocked, think again. An Arizona district judge has ruled that a couple who hosted files in KaZaA is liable for over $40K in damages just because they 'made available' songs that could have been pirated by someone, somewhere. There's legal precedent, but how long do we have before the BitTorrent crew is sued?" The New York case testing the same theory is still pending.

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I see (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379549)

Their three-paragraph response was miniscule in comparison to those filed by file-sharing defendants with professional representation.

Ok, there's their mistake, they didn't hire a lawyer. Three paragraphs? That's just crazy.

Hopefully they'll hire one before the time to appeal expires.

He who has the gold rules (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379671)

There are many wealthy companies (and individuals) who became wealthy because of copyright law. They obtained the copyrights from the artists who created the content, paid the artists a few pennies, and then went on to make millions from the content.

Naturally enough, they are keenly interested in ensuring as heavy-handed an enforcement of copyright law as possible.

The more control they can maintain over YOU (and what you do with any and all data in your possession) the more money they can make from you.

It is an uphill battle for those interested in personal freedom. But I guess that's nothing new.

Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (4, Insightful)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379555)

It's not a file sharing anything. It's a file transfer protocol.

that's all

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (3, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379613)

It's not a file sharing anything. It's a file transfer protocol.
Yeah, logic. That'll stop 'em.

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379663)

Actually, it will. The judgement is directly against people sharing files with an obvious intent to infringe on copyright. How that compares to the legality of a download acceleration service (BitTorrent) is beyond me. Even the BitTorrent search engine doesn't make the files directly available. It simply links to torrent files that describe the network for downloading the file. They also (as I understand) yank illegal torrents from the search on request. So I don't really see the parallel that the submitter is trying to make.

copyright infringers get sued != BitTorrent is an illegal technology

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379829)

Actually, it will.


Logic didn't stop the Drug War from reaching unconstitutional levels, nor has it stopped Roe v Wade from being a reality.

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379857)

I don't really see the parallel that the submitter is trying to make.
copyright infringers get sued != BitTorrent is an illegal technology
I think his point was to get people talking... a bit o' light trolling, if you will.

My point, however, was that although your logic is flawless, they don't act on logic. They act on a series of baby steps towards a goal: Pay per listen.

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379891)

This is why I think it is important to stop buying any digital music. Buy the hard copy (cd/tape/records) and transfer to digital yourself. I know, I know...... "your sooooo 1996" but "pay per listen" might actually be a reality in the not too distant future. It sounds crazy now but many things we take for granted now were science fiction just a decade ago.

Re:Bittorrent is not a p2p file sharing program. (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380191)

copyright infringers get sued != BitTorrent is an illegal technology

Thing is, they got sued for having KaZaa installed on their computer. It showed what they had laying around, and even if downloads were turned off, RIAA is claiming that since they had the files, and had KaZaa installed, they were therefore evil thieving copyright violating pirates. The judge bought it.

Not surprising, considering the judge is from Arizona, about 500 miles due west of the 20th Century...

Geek Speak < Criminal Definition (3, Interesting)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379855)

Sorry, but you are quibbling over accuracy or truth or something. That's like claiming you didn't murder someone with a 45, but a 38.

Legal Precendent: If one is caught with a small ammount of an illegal substance, they can be charged and convicted of dealing, even if they have never dealt. Getting caught with one can of Coke is personal use, but if you get caught with a 12-pack then you are automatically guilty of dealing Coke. Strange but true, because accuracy isn't important, punishing people like you is important.

Re:Geek Speak Criminal Definition (4, Informative)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379995)

Eh. No.

If you are caught possessing over a certain amount, it can create a statutory presumption (depending on the applicable law) of intent to distribute. A presumption means that this is something that, absent evidence to the contrary (generally a clear-and-convincing standard, or perhaps preponderance. Again, it depends on the law), the State does not have to affirmatively prove. For instance, let's say that possession of Sprite is criminalized, and possession of over a six-pack of Sprite creates a presumption of intent to distribute. You get caught with a case. If you can show, through evidence, that you intended to consume all of the Sprite yourself, you'd have rebutted that presumption.

You're not "automatically guilty" of anything. The reason why this is so that possession of a large amount of a substance is itself evidence of an intent to distribute. It may not always be the case, but the Legislatures have deemed that it is often enough the case that intent ought to be presumed unless you can show otherwise. This doesn't violate due process because intent is only one element of the crime, and the State must still prove the other elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

Re:Geek Speak Criminal Definition (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380079)

You get caught with a case. If you can show, through evidence, that you intended to consume all of the Sprite yourself, you'd have rebutted that presumption.
Heh heh, and if that were true, how would one prove their innocence 'through evidence'... drink the 6-pack? :-)

Your intent argument did make more sense when these laws were first implimented, as someone with a van with 600 pounds was clearly not going to consume it himself, but now the laws have been incrementally changed to the point where just over one usage is consider proof, yes proof not intent, of dealing. All that is neccessary is the maintain the chain-of-evidence that sufficiently proves you were indeed in possession of the goods.

Re:Geek Speak Criminal Definition (2, Funny)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380111)

Heh heh, and if that were true, how would one prove their innocence 'through evidence'... drink the 6-pack? :-)

Well, yes, but I'd recommend against that. :) You might try calling a witness and putting on testimony, or testify yourself. Testimony is evidence.

but now the laws have been incrementally changed to the point where just over one usage is consider proof, yes proof not intent, of dealing.

What laws, please? I'm going to be a prosecutor in less than a year. I'd really like to know about this great boon to my profession.

That's not the point being made. Crazy Law Ahead! (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380053)

Let's worry about the actual point being made:

the Howells argued that their file-sharing program was "not set up to share" and that the files found by Media Sentry were "for private use" and "for transfer to portable devices, that is legal for 'fair use.'"

To see how retarded this is, take this "making available" nonsense a few steps down the slippery slope to DRM hell, where sharing is a crime:

  1. By putting copyrighted files on a shared computer, I'm making them available. At least one company has already been destroyed by the RIAA for letting their employees load music to an ftp server.
  2. By lending you my CDs, I'm making them available. This applies to libraries as well.
  3. Publishing any material that other people might copy is making it available.

Citizen, have you been sharing your password access? Do you have the right to read [gnu.org] anymore?

Copyright is supposed to encourage publication for the benefit of the public domain. It is supposed to be a temporary exclusive right to publish. People violating that exclusivity could be told to stop and sued in civil court by the rights holder. Punishing people who are actually performing copyright's original function, without actual proof of damages is little more than coporate welfare. Don't think for an instant that you will be protected in the same manner if some big dumb company takes your text, images or recordings and sells them. A $40,000 judgment is sure ruin to most people, but less than a slap on the wrist to the companies pushing these crazy cases.

If we give this kind of power to publishers, every education will create a life time's worth of debt for little more than access to textbooks. Imagine music industry methods applied to all human knowledge. As Newton understood, every person's contribution to human knowledge is dwarfed by the accumulated store. What you have will be held cheap and you will have to work very hard to get what you need.

They kind of have a point (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379557)

The letter vs. spirit of the law and all.

Bizarre... (5, Funny)

RazorDaze (570566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379579)

The files weren't transfered, but they were available, and that's supposed to be the same as distributing?

Is that like being too fugly to get laid, getting busted for prostitution?

To rain on your parade... (4, Insightful)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379583)

I'm not 100% sure, but I do believe that I read a clause about this when I studied copyright law one year ago. Making copyrighted content available to others (online or otherwise) without owning the rights to the work is against the law. Like I said, I'm just going by memory here but I'm fairly certain that I read an older case dealing with this same issue in a non-online context.

Regardless, the article submitting shouldn't be so quick to dismiss a judge's ruling as foobar just because he doesn't like the outcome. I actually agree with the judge's decision, despite my strong disdain for the RIAA/MPAA and its friends.

Re:To rain on your parade... (1)

Tyger (126248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379605)

It was a little vague, but from their description, it sounds like they didn't make it available for others to download, just for themselves to access remotely. Or rather, I should say that's the claim. If that's true or not is another matter.

Re:To rain on your parade... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379697)

how could they know it's copyrighted content without downloading it?
even if there are hashes involved... you could rewrite a client to send false hashes...

And it damn well should be. (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379719)

Look, if you provide the facilities for someone to copy copywritten material, you should be liable. There is no other way for copyright to work.

The 'leaving your back door open' analogy is not a good one. A better analogy is buying a book, scanning it, and posting it on a web page. In fact, it's EXACTLY the same thing, only with a different protocol.

Re:And it damn well should be. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379981)

"Look, if you provide the facilities for someone to copy copywritten material, you should be liable. There is no other way for copyright to work."

Yeah - like all those photocopiers in the public library - sue those assholes man! What do they think they are doing leaving copyrighted material around like that.

Re:And it damn well should be. (3, Insightful)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380009)

Xerox is a doomed company then! So are all copy paper manufacturers! As ludicrous as your point is... it's unfortunately very accurate.

Re:And it damn well should be. (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380013)

The 'leaving your back door open' analogy is not a good one. A better analogy is buying a book, scanning it, and posting it on a web page. In fact, it's EXACTLY the same thing, only with a different protocol.
It is only the same if no-one downloads the web page that you put up. If people read the web page then there has clearly been copying. If no-one read it, no copying.

Re:And it damn well should be. (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380077)

Who wants copyright to work?...

Re:And it damn well should be. (2)

Seven001 (750590) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380215)

Kudos to you for pointing out the flaw in that analogy. I, and no doubt many others, recognized it immediately and rolled my eyes. To be honest I'm surprised that nobody modded you down for it. It's not as if I'm an RIAA advocate, I despise the organization as much as the next slashdotter. However, when people share their files on P2P networks such as Kazaa, they either do so knowingly of the consequences or in ignorance. I think most people know that ignorance is not a defense that works in the legal system. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that people know in some way that sharing music is not exactly on the right side of the law. We live in a society that is pretty much run by capitalism and very little is free. "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is" comes to mind. I don't see any reason free music should be considered exempt from that age-old analogy.

I for one don't think this has set a bad precedence, just an obvious one.

Re:To rain on your parade... (1)

AxelBoldt (1490) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380249)

Making copyrighted content available to others (online or otherwise) without owning the rights to the work is against the law.

Is that so? Lending a book to a friend is a crime now? The magazine I bought I cannot show to my son? What interesting times we live in.

One of my soulseek folders reads (5, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379587)

private_property_dont_download This is where I keep all my albums that I riped from my cd's. Since you already know that anything in that folder is my private propery, downloading from it make "you" the thief.

The folder that I download tracks to is named paying_canadian_recordable_media_levies_lets_me_do wnload_all_of_your_music

Re:One of my soulseek folders reads (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379607)

And where do you keep your spell checker?

Re:One of my soulseek folders reads (1)

matrim99 (123693) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379627)

That's pretty confusing. I just store most of my music in a directory called /crap .

Re:One of my soulseek folders reads (-1, Troll)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379677)

You actually pay the recordable media levee?

I always figured people who steal music should use stolen media on which to store it. Only seems right.

Re:One of my soulseek folders reads (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379737)

Actually I rarely ever downloaded music till about 5 months ago when I needed a bunch of cdr's to backup a few gigs of photos I took the week before (I didn't have a dvd burner). I hit up London Drugs and bought a 50 pack of Verbatim (Figured I might aswell load up). Seem quite cheap for $10 or so. After hitting the check out counter the price doubled after the levies were added. I said fuck it and went on a download frenzy.

Re:One of my soulseek folders reads (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379923)

It's funny they put a levy on stuff that the kids hardly ever use nowadays for music ;).

Out of the hundreds of CDs I've burnt, only 2 or so contained "label" music, and those were backups of CDs that were paid for (that I figured were worth backing up :p ).

Does that logic applies to street vendors too? (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379611)

Just think of the damages if they prosecuted one of those little flea-market stands with all the pirated DVDs. They could REALLY clean up if they busted one of those guys!

Re:Does that logic applies to street vendors too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380067)

That's nothing. Just think of all the money they could make by hitting up people with boom-boxes for attempted music piracy!

US Intellectual Property laws (2, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379623)

It seems like gradually an inch at a time, the US is 'criminalizing' protocols it doesn't like. This will probably end badly. Remember that guy who was convicted of 'criminal copyright infringement'? Isn't copyright infringement supposed to be a civil matter? Well its not anymore. The IP Holders make the laws, and if they say if you go to jail for 20 years sharing one song, then so be it. (Just as an example.)

Unless there are major changes in US leadership soon, and there won't be, living in the US has very undesirable prospects in my opinion. Geeks are a minority and Geek opinions are not going to be respected. IP laws or not, this can only end badly. Maybe its time we start asking the 'if not the USA, where?' again and seriously start looking for other countries to live in.

Now I know what you are going to say, 'but why can't we vote people into office to change the rules?' Well, theoretically we could. but Geeks are such a small minority compared to the hordes of 'values voters' out there, any issue you voice out on will be drowned out.

So that begs the question, what are the best Geek friendly countries?

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (4, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379679)

IAALBNYL*--

Actually, the United States Code has had provisions for criminal copyright infringement since at least 1982. It's not really anything new. Think back to when you first rented a VHS movie, and the FBI warning came up . . . the find and imprisonment mentioned therein were the penalties for criminal copyright infringement.

While I understand the difference between intellectual property and personal property (especially as it relates to the term theft), intellectual property right holders do suffer losses from the unrestricted copying of their property. Generally, in this country, when a person's rights are being violated they have two options: go to the police or go to court. It's not uncommon for there to be both civil and criminal penalties to protect an individual's rights. For example, if you steal my car, you can be prosecuted for theft. I can also sue you for conversion (and in some states, civil theft). The criminal prosecution is brought in the name of the People and is meant to extract justice for society. The civil suit is meant to compensate me for my losses.

Criminal copyright infringement (as opposed to a civil suit) is meant to serve the same purpose: justice for society.

--AC

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380115)

...since 1982. It's not really anything new...

"we've always done it that way" and it's derivations are GREAT justifications.
Also, you are showing your age or bias; 1982 is not that long ago relative to law or copyright.

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (4, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380165)

Actually, the United States Code has had provisions for criminal copyright infringement since at least 1982. It's not really anything new.

1897, IIRC. But not all copyright infringement is criminal.

Nevertheless, I don't think that it should be criminalized. The societal harm of infringement is too minor -- after all, it merely reduces the benefit to society of copyright because the author in question isn't getting enough compensation to incentivize him. The civil remedies revolve around compensation, however, solving that issue, while the criminal penalties don't restore the social benefits at all. Nor do the penalties for infringement seem to have any effect as a deterrent. And I sincerely doubt that society gains any sort of value out of retribution for copyright infringement.

Patent infringement is not criminal. Trademark infringement traditionally has not been, and that only recently changed, and is likely a bad idea in most cases (I could see it if someone was proximately harmed by it, but it's hard to see how existing criminal statutes wouldn't already apply adequately). Why should copyright be special?

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379715)

Unless there are major changes in US leadership soon

In the USA, your options for leadership are

1. The We'll Say And Do Anything To Acquire And Retain Power Party (1), backed by the Oil Industry - currently in power
2. The We'll Say And Do Anything To Acquire And Retain Power Party (2). backed by the Media Industry

Good luck with that.

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (1)

budword (680846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380007)

The problem is twofold, first, the political process is funded by corporations, not individuals. Second, all of our politicians are professional politicians. This is a problem because they have only one overriding goal,to continue to be professional politicians. To that end, they will continue to take the corporations money and do their bidding, even at the expense of the same public that elects them. You point about looking for another country is timely, I've been doing exactly that. Costa Rica is my best answer so far. Best of luck....

Re:US Intellectual Property laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380065)

It seems like gradually an inch at a time, the US is 'criminalizing' protocols it doesn't like.
 
what was criminalized here? people were arrest for breaking a law. you're acting like the government is calling for prohibition because someone got prosecuted for drinking and driving.
 
  This will probably end badly.
 
"this" does not exist. again, you've taken the actions and the tools of the action out of context. bad idea when it comes to talking about law or geekdom.
 
  Remember that guy who was convicted of 'criminal copyright infringement'? Isn't copyright infringement supposed to be a civil matter? Well its not anymore. The IP Holders make the laws, and if they say if you go to jail for 20 years sharing one song, then so be it. (Just as an example.)
 
quote me a single case where this has happened.
 
also, there is and has been criminal proceedings for copyright infringement for sometime. just because you didn't know this doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
 
  Unless there are major changes in US leadership soon, and there won't be, living in the US has very undesirable prospects in my opinion.
 
what does the leadership have to do with this? these laws have been on the books before you were pissing in diapers. just because you see it in action today doesn't mean that it's new.
 
  Geeks are a minority and Geek opinions are not going to be respected. IP laws or not, this can only end badly. Maybe its time we start asking the 'if not the USA, where?' again and seriously start looking for other countries to live in.
 
don't let the door hit you on the ass. i've been hearing this mantra from fucktards for a few decades now and they rarely exercise their right to get the fuck out. you won't either.
 
as far as geeks? wtf does trading copyrighted materials have to do with legitimate geekdom? you're crying like a little kid because there are powers that be that would use legal channels to snuff out your little music swap? that's reason to leave a country? fuck, you got some serious issues. if this is what it takes to get a "geek" to leave a country soon you'll all be living at sealand.
 
  Geeks are a minority and Geek opinions are not going to be respected. IP laws or not, this can only end badly. Maybe its time we start asking the 'if not the USA, where?' again and seriously start looking for other countries to live in.
 
thank god for that! the day when we elect a leader because he's friendly towards copyright infringement concerns is the day that things will truly be on the up and up for everyone. if you can't think of at least 25 other things you'd sooner see in a leader over his views on ip law then you've got a very narrow scope of mind and no compassion for your fellow man. i can't believe a whiner like you actually got modded up. vote for a leader because he'll let me steal music? what the fuck is that all about? i'll concern myself with issues involving taxes, the criminal element and education a million times more. thankyouverymuch.
 
  So that begs the question, what are the best Geek friendly countries?
 
get your head out of your ass and join us in the human race. i'm serious, this is a really sad post to see get modded up.

Very different (3, Interesting)

intx13 (808988) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379633)

Providing a copyrighted file for uploading by a third party and writing a Bittorrent protocol client are very different. What this couple did is not equivalent to leaving your back door unlocked - they were actively sitting on the back stoop giving other people's stuff away. Whether or not you feel the copyright law is valid as written, they did break it, so the fact they were sued shouldn't be some big surprise.

Also, for a community of people that goes to great pains to point out the difference between "stealing" music and breaking copyright law, the headline of this article doesn't do us much good. Come to think of it, that's quite a sarcastic and vitriolic summary - and seeing as this story doesn't bring anything new to the table with respect to the whole file-sharing issue, why is this even news?

I know, I know, I must be new here!

Re:Very different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379705)

Mod Parent Up

Minimal precedential value (4, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379635)

IAALBNYL*--

The precedential value of this case is very low. It's a single ruling by a trial judge. In all likelihood, the actual opinion won't even be published.

Now, if these folks decide to appeal this ruling, and the relevant Court of Appeals decides to affirm, then there's a real precedent you've got to worry about.

--AC

*I Am A Lawyer, But Not Your Lawyer

Re:Minimal precedential value (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379669)

Now, if these folks decide to appeal this ruling, and the relevant Court of Appeals decides to affirm, then there's a real precedent you've got to worry about.
Arizona is in the Ninth Circuit; New York is in the Second [uscourts.gov] . If courts of appeals in two different circuits decide differently, wouldn't that likely lead to an appeal to the Supreme Court?

Re:Minimal precedential value (4, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379703)

Absolutely. Circuit splits are one of the key ways to get the Supreme Court to grant a writ of certiorari (which is fancy lawyer-speak for "listen to a case"). However, the Supreme Court may exercise discretion and not hear these cases based on a split between only two circuits. It often likes to allow the different Courts of Appeals to consider the issues and develop their own ways of interpreting the law. This lets them reap the benefits of all the brain damage the circuit courts have inflicted on themselves.

--AC

Re:Minimal precedential value (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379741)

That is, essentially, my understanding, too.

A precedent is only binding on courts beneath the one that sets the precedent. The court that sets the precedent can decide it differently the next time around.

However, judges will often take serious consideration of findings of other courts even if there are no binding precedents. As such, that decision could cause problems for other defendants.

Let them Fry! (5, Insightful)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379639)

They didn't 'leave their back door open' to a thief ... they effectively put a table on the front lawn piled high with music with a big sign saying 'come on in, copy all you want!'. ... and they shall get what they deserve.

Are they just idiots? There is no excuse here. They knew what their software was doing and if they didn't know they should not have been using it.

Don't like copyrights? ... then don't buy the material, don't use it in any form - legitimate or pirated, don't consume the content in any way at all. If you actually have some talent, make your own!

Only by completely ignoring the industry will they get desparate and be forced to relax the licenses they have legally chosen to apply to their property.

Is your life really so empty that you can't get by without your stolen music?

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379795)

Hell no!

My life is only empty without stolen downloaded TV episodes.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

L0stm4n (322418) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379815)

They knew what their software was doing and if they didn't know they should not have been using it.

Then nobody should be using windows?

Re:Let them Fry! (2, Interesting)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380143)

Let me clarify.

They knew their software was making the music available for others to download. Most P2P softwares encourage you to make your files available. Some have quotas related to how much you've 'given back'.

Knowing HOW the software does what it does, and whether or not it is doing other potentially nasty things is a different story. We were talking about the most basic and obvious functions of the P2P software afterall.

Re:Let them Fry! (1, Insightful)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379837)

"Is your life really so empty that you can't get by without your stolen music?"

It's not my fault that my life is empty. And I never stole it, I just made an exact duplicate of it using my own resources. It never cost them a dime. In fact, they actually gained a small amount of money because I pay a music tax on recordable media. And I don't hear you complaining about the mp3s I copied from the radio. Why is that? To me, it seems that I can listen to my Britney Spears guilt-free.

...

God my life is empty.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379889)

And I never stole it, I just made an exact duplicate of it using my own resources. It never cost them a dime. In fact, they actually gained a small amount of money
Maybe I should print my own currency and use the same argument.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380051)

Actually ... it IS your fault your life is empty ... it's your life, do something with it!

You did steal it because you did not pay the owner for the use of their music. You're simply fooling yourself if you can't see this.

Now if you live in Canada, and you did pay the recordable media levee ... I do have some sympathy, in a roundabout way you did pay the fee.

In the case of the radio, the station pays the fee on your behalf. Much of a radio station's advertising revenues go into paying the music fees and the more they play a song, the more they have to pay to that record company. They don't just walk down to WalMart and buy a CD and play it. And this doesn't give you the right to redistribute your crappy radio recordings, with all the tasty static and DJ voices at the start and finish.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

myrdos2 (989497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380265)

Well, I'm far too selfish to upload anything. So we're OK there. But why is it stealing when I use P2P and OK when I copy from the radio? I have good reception, and honestly can't tell the difference in quality. I like to record big long chunks of radio, and cut out the ads.

Is P2P morally wrong because it's too convenient?

Re:Let them Fry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379839)

Only by completely ignoring the industry will they get desparate and be forced to relax the licenses they have legally chosen to apply to their property.
You make that assertion, but you don't offer even a remote shred of supporting evidence.
I can just as validly say, "Only if everyone pirates everything will the industry get desperate and be forced to relax the licenses they have legally chosen to apply to their property."

I think the reason you didn't offer any supporting evidence is that you are a zealot, you believe what you wrote completely on faith and a kind of misplaced moral righteousness.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379963)

Who's the self righteous freak? MR ANONYMOUS COWARD ... scared to show any name?

Isn't the evidence obvious? Must I spell it out?

Ignore the industry and you remove the value of their product, it becomes worthless. Pirating the content only proves the content has value. It's worth so much to you that you'll steal to get it.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380121)

"It's worth so much to you that you'll steal to get it"??? You do know that, by all accounts, it's EASIER to pirate than to buy, right?

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380209)

Define what you mean by 'easier'.

You don't need a computer or any knowledge of how to use a computer to walk into a store and buy a music CD. In fact, buying a music CD is just as easy as buying any other common product in a store.

A young child who can walk into a store and buy a candy bar could just as easily buy a music CD on display at the cash register ... likely at a much younger age than they could boot a computer, start the right software, do a search for music files, download it, possibly move it or burn it to a separate music player on a different media type, and listen to it.

Perhaps you should have said 'more convenient' or that "it let's me avoid my responsibilities and obligations as a law abiding member of society in semi-anonymity in the comfort of my own home"

Background music in public places (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379867)

Don't like copyrights? ... then don't buy the material, don't use it in any form
How is this possible? How can I buy food without hearing proprietary music played over the PA system?

Re:Background music in public places (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379983)

You've got bigger problems if that's the kind of music that draws you in :)

Obviously you can't completely avoid it ... but if you keep it out of your home, and off of your music players you make the content worthless. Pirating only shows the industry that their product has value worth defending.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379903)

They didn't 'leave their back door open' to a thief ... they effectively put a table on the front lawn piled high with music with a big sign saying 'come on in, copy all you want!'
And of course the analogy was flawed in a different sense. Leaving your back door open only risks harm to yourself.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379969)

The irony is that if you were to ask me if you could copy something of mine and I was to lend it to you, I wouldn't even by liable for contributory copyright infringement. The law simply isn't worded that way.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379999)

If it is really 'yours' rather than something you've paid a license fee to use with the understanding that you don't have the rights to re-distribute ... than go crazy, hand it out as you see fit.

Re:Let them Fry! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380179)

Heh, see, that's the point. The language of copyright law doesn't say you can't re-distribute.. it says you can't copy. You can give your copy of Jurassic Park to anyone you want. You can even resell it. You just can't make copies. If someone else makes a copy while you're lending it to them then they have infringed copyright law, not you.

Re:Let them Fry! (3, Interesting)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380027)

They didn't 'leave their back door open' to a thief ... they effectively put a table on the front lawn piled high with music with a big sign saying 'come on in, copy all you want!'. ... and they shall get what they deserve.

Isn't that what public libraries do? They have bookshelves stacked with (mostly) copyrighted books, they generally have one or more public-use Xerox machines right next to said bookshelves, and they open their doors to the public.

Re:Let them Fry! (2, Interesting)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380093)

I don't have a good answer to this.

You do pay for your library card, whether it's directly or through local municipal taxes or student fees etc, but i doubt any of it is passed on to the publishers beyond buying the books. The copyright holders have fought for years about the photo copying. While I was in university every photocopier had a sign reminding you not to break copyrights, a few years later here in Canada a judge declared library photocopiers to be 'fair use'.

I think it could still swing either way.

Legal peer-to-peer providers need to band together (4, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379645)

I operate a torrent tracker and full-time seed for some Creative Commons music downloads [oggfrog.com] . These torrents are perfectly legal and posted with the permission of the copyright holder. (It's just my music, but there will be more from other artists soon.) Other legal torrent sites are Legaltorrents.com [legaltorrents.com] , Jamendo [jamendo.com] and bt.etree.org [etree.org] .

Also many Free and Open Source software projects distribute installers via BitTorrent, notably Ubuntu Linux and OpenOffice.org.

All of these torrents are completely legal. Yet many ISPs block BitTorrent traffic - that happened to me with Eastlink back in Nova Scotia. I was therefore unable to check that my own torrents were operating properly! One can try to work around such blockage by using non-standard port numbers, but I understand that it's possible for ISPs to filter based on the content of packets, and not just the port numbers.

I can see the day coming when all peer-to-peer traffic, whether legal or not, is blocked either due to new laws or record and movie industry lawsuits. All of us who have free content and software to distribute will lose out.

Those of us who offer legal files via peer-to-peer networks - not just BitTorrent, as Jamendo also offers eMule - need to work together to lobby both national governments and local ISPs to do away with this filtering. There are many ways to download both music and software that are perfectly legal; we need to dispel the myth that free downloads are somehow necessarily violating the law.

Re:Legal peer-to-peer providers need to band toget (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380063)

All of these torrents are completely legal. Yet many ISPs block BitTorrent traffic

Why are you assuming they block BitTorrent traffic because they believe the content is illegal? Isn't is possible they block BitTorrent because of the typically high bandwidth BitTorrent users consume?

Hmm... (1)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379653)

I sure hope this judge never leaves anything where it could be stolen.

Re:Hmm... (1)

yarnia (892625) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379929)

Your comment would only make sense if, unknown to the defendants, a computer program was installed that would allow people to copy their music. They knowingly installed it. Sure, I see a difference between actual sharing and making available to share. But you're suggesting they have no involvement or blame here...

The term 'Publish' is in need of overhaul (5, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379683)

As the Internet permeates every aspect of our lives, and the entire world slowly becomes directly entwined with every other part, the definition of "publish" will have to be changed.

Traditionally, publishing was something done via a newspaper, book, or some other "official" work. Duplicating Intellectual Property has long been formal and obvious. The reasons for copyright were clear, intellectual property was expensive and difficult to distribute, and overcoming the cost of distribution benefited all.

Enter the Internet. Suddenly, Intellectual Property can be distributed to anybody at any time simply by posting on a $5/month website.

I have a web server on my home DSL line with MP3s (legally obtained) that I stream via Apache on a non-standard port, that automatically closes every night. (I have to manually open the port on any day I intend to listen) I do not intend to "publish" these, simply listen to them when and where I happen to be.

But, while the port is open, I'm legally "publishing" these files, and based on this ruling, I'm liable for it. Now, I'm pretty sure the risk of my getting caught is pretty slim, but it's not zero. And the truth is, there will be more and more examples of "publish" simply because putting ANYTHING on the Internet is has always been easy, is easier than it used to be, and is getting easier every day.

At what point are you NOT publishing something? If I record a video of my wife lip-syncing to Green Day and post it on my family website, am I "publishing" their song?

There are millions of examples, and I'm sure there are plenty of bad-car analogies coming soon, but the truth remains: the rules are being changed, and we need to PAY ATTENTION!!!

Re:The term 'Publish' is in need of overhaul (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379909)

The answer to your Green Day question has been around for decades, I thought it was pretty much common knowledge, I guess not.

It's no different than singing 'happy birthday' as a public performance (be it live or by internet). You need permission and that may include a fee.

Anyone in Canada who has held an event where copyright music is played by a DJ is very familiar with it. In my case it was the $60 'SOCAN' fee required by the DJ to play music at my wedding reception. The fee supposedly goes to the artists.

Publishing (4, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379687)

It seems to me that putting files up for P2P sharing is the same as putting them on your web site which is the same as publishing. It also seems to me that both the publisher and the downloader are guilty of copyright infringement, assuming that any reasonable downloader would know that the publisher doesn't have the distribution rights.

Ok, which is it. (0)

Valar (167606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379713)

I'm confused. I've been hearing around here that copyright infringement isn't theft or piracy, because the copyright owner doesn't lose access to their property. Now /. is saying that it is just like theft, because making copyrighted files available is just like leaving your door open.

(Yes, I understand that different people here have different opinions, I'm just referring to the consensus position.)

Re:Ok, which is it. (1, Interesting)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379819)

Yes, the consensus thing here is interesting.

A few years ago I posted time and time again about how wrong it was for the USA to invade Iraq, how there was no evidence of WMD's, how Saddam actually kept Al Queada out of Iraq, how Iraq was already fully contained, how Bush lied about Iraq trying to import yellow cake uranium ... a plan that had been foiled 8 years before and how when this was exposed, it eventually led to the USA outing one of their own spy's identities.

I got modded down down down ... yelled at as if I had stood in the whitehouse and dared to call freedom fries by their proper name, french fries.

But the ignorant consensus was shown to be wrong. Many years too late, but they know they were wrong nonetheless, and they will be shown to be wrong again this time.

By the way dumbass ... copyright infringement IS theft because you are not paying the owner of the content you've taken. You've stolen that cash from them. It's amazing how many people eagerly deny this reality.

Re:Ok, which is it. (3, Insightful)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379973)

Copyright is not theft.

Theft requires two things.
1) The thief must take something.
2) The victim must be deprived of the item the thief took.

Copyright infringement is morally and ethically similar to theft, but it consists of the following corresponding steps:
1) The infringer copies something.
2) The victim is deprived of the benefit potentially gained by the use of the copy.

It's the distinction between outright pain and mere inconvenience. Geeks like to think of everything as true/false, digital decisions, but the fact is that life and human nature is analog. Copyright infringement is at its base far less damaging than outright theft.

Re:Ok, which is it. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380119)

Theft requires two things.
1) The thief must take something.
2) The victim must be deprived of the item the thief took.


Not necessarily. Slashdotters have tended to latch onto one definition of theft, and present it as if it's a universal legal description; but what constitutes "theft" will vary depending on where you go. Some places don't even have a crime called "theft"--they use "larceny" instead.

In my state, for example, one of the elements of theft is to "[d]eprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property." I think you can make the argument that distributing an mp3 that you're not supposed to is depriving the copyright holder of a benefit of the property.

Re:Ok, which is it. (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379897)

The consensus also seems to be that if you don't secure your WiFi [slashdot.org] and somebody wardrives you it's your fault for not locking things down; but if you don't lock down your P2P shares it's the fault of the downloader for taking something he shouldn't. Go figure...

Bad Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379717)

"as illegal as leaving your back door unlocked" If you did and found someone in your house copying your music you may consider it a crime.

Analogies aside the law is the law it does not have to make sense, It does what the government wants it to do.
Software is kind of the same. It does not have to make sense, It does what the programmer wanted.
And just like with programs the compiler "judges" what the programmer wrote. Laws have bugs too.
Unfortunately, the court rules on them as they see them. No judicial LINT report.

The Copyright law is very old unlike DMCA. Copying books or music is the same thing. The courts will clarify the issue. The big question is do you want to be a test case, or just read about the test cases in Slashdot.

Awesome verdict. (0)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379733)

Growing up, I had a brother that stole things ... mainly my things.

I couldn't hide my stuff well enough, he'd find it. Finally I'd get in trouble for leaving stuff out that he could steal.

Perhaps if the defendants had grown up with my brother, they wouldnt be in this situation.

it's like your house it's not like your house (1)

ctalnh (542227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379735)

So... how does this square with this wireless "theft" thing [slashdot.org] reported earlier? Maybe it's using the prostitution analogy... illegal both to provide and to partake?

What about libraries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379937)

So should we arrest librarians for leaving copyrighted materials out in the open for copying? After all they even leave copy machines and scanners for thieves to break copyrights right in the building. Or perhaps the RIAA should go after college kids leaving CDs unlocked in their stereo where their roommates might be able to copy them onto their own tapes/ipods/computers.

Soon, it may be illegal to not have an army of network defense people for your home. After all, its theoretically possible for copyright abusers to go through your obviously porous OS/router to get at your files.

Poor defense of your own or someone else's goods is not illegal. Taking things from someone even over non-existent security is however.

Representing themselves (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379789)

Another reason to take to heart the adage that a person who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client: it just makes it easier for the big guys to make bad self-serving case law.

Re:Representing themselves (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379851)

Naw. They just couldn't bring themselves to admit they were guilty ... and didn't want to waste their money on a lawyer knowing that they were guilty.

They hoped they'd win the lottery on this one and get away with it.

It's a fair cop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379865)

If they'll grant me immunity from prosecution, I'll turn state's evidence on several organizations I know that make copyrighted works available:

These people have been supplying me with copyrighted VHS and DVD movies for years. [blockbuster.com]

These bastards have been doing it with online ordering! [netflix.com]

There's another nest of pirates, they call themselves, "a library". Nothing but copyrighted works, from books, to magazines, to DVDs, and more besides!

They just turn a blind eye to the possibilities of copying these works. This "library" even lets you photocopy books, right in front of building!

Wrong, and the intelligence of Leechers (2, Interesting)

kiwioddBall (646813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379925)

The write of the Slashdot interpretation of this article seems to have the wrong end of the stick.

Using software that potentially shares copyrighted data is not illegal - what the judge found illegal was that copyrighted data was actually being shared and made available for download. The difference between potentially sharing data and actually sharing data is being ignored by this snippet.

I tend to agree - if you are sharing copyrighted data you are making that data available for piracy. It seems to me that if you are making data available for download then you are pretty stupid, as it is so easy to detect. Leechers are given pretty bad press by the various networks (for good reason) but the fact is that if you are a leecher you're probably exposing yourself to the least risk possible.

How Is It NOT Illegal? (2, Interesting)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379933)

If I made unlimited copies of the Sunday New York Times or the most recent Harry Potter book and put them out on a street corner -- and people started taking them -- why would I not be responsible in some capacity?

Now, to make the argument technologically more applicable, what if I put up a copier in my house that would automatically copy the New York Times or Harry Potter and then send it in the mail to anyone who asked? Kind of think I'm still responsible...

Note that this is different than making tons of copies of the most recent Harry Potter book and scattering them all over my own home so that I could read Krugman's latest op ed or all about Ron's latest crush in every room. (I believe that I have a right to do this!) But opening up these copies to the general public and making it extremely easy for other people to read them? Sounds like I should be accountable for something.

Just because the technology is different, doesn't change the essence of the argument or the net result.

Where does my logic break down?

Re:How Is It NOT Illegal? (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380199)

The point is that effectively saying "I'll make you a copy of the NYT if you ask me" is considered copyright infringement. That is, simply offering to make an illegal copy is enough to get you in trouble for copyright infringement even if no actual copying has taken place. That is where your logic breaks down.

As another poster said, using the logic of the judge, libraries are making available copyrighted works. Therefore, they would all need to be prosecuted for copyright infringement.

sounds right to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379939)

let's face facts, there is only one reason to offer this stuff up. it's not like you can claim otherwise.
 
not to even mention that leaving the keys in your car if it's stolen is considered neglect and can make the insurance company no longer legally liable for the claim. how is this different?
 
leaving a gun out also makes an adult liable for it's use by a minor or a thief.

Bad parallel (1)

happyEverGeek (705021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379949)

I have to take issue with your attempt to liken posting copyrighted material with leaving your back door open. The parallel would be stronger, if you borrowed your friend's stuff, left your back door open, and posted that fact at a place you know to be frequented by people who would feel no compunction about taking the stuff. This would not result in back doors or local bulletin boards becoming illegal. However, a judge would make you pay your friend for everything that was taken.

Why is it that some people think someone's program, ebook, or music is different than a physical item? They are both the product of time, talent, and effort.

Dump the self-righteous attitude and try on some compassion for a change.

Re:Bad parallel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380045)

Why is it that some people think someone's program, ebook, or music is different than a physical item?
Simply put, because while distributing unauthorized copies of someone's (non-free) program, ebook, or music is wrong, it is absolutely different than giving away your friend's dining room table to a stranger.

The program, ebook, or music may have been the result of someone's effort - but it can be copied infinite times without disturbing the function of the original. Distributing copies to friends doesn't give the creator their dues - but it is not the same as a physical item.

Re:Bad parallel (1)

dreamlax (981973) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380253)

However, a judge would make you pay your friend for everything that was taken.

So basically, if I "made available" his Playstation, but I made a pirated copy of it first so that I owned an exact copy, and I make several identical copies for the world to take, then it's exactly the same as sharing an MP3? You're right, that's exactly the same. My god, you've reached me on a level I never though possible.

In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379959)

...a man who did not lock his house is being charged with larceny.

Sensationalist Idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20379979)

An Arizona district judge has ruled that a couple who hosted files in KaZaA is liable for over $40K in damages just because they 'made available' songs that could have been pirated by someone, somewhere. There's legal precedent, but how long do we have before the BitTorrent crew is sued?
Are you an idiot? They case was for people sharing songs, not for using a program that's capable of sharing songs.

Bad summary is an understatement (1)

johnnyk427 (940438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380075)

By far the most insultingly biased summary I've yet seen on a slashdot page, and that's saying a lot because that's Slashdot's stock-and-trade. Can someone fix that drivel please?

Stealing or copyright infringment ? (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380095)

Did the judge really say it was stealing ?

AFAIK stealing is the MPAA/RIAA propaganda term for copyright infringment and is not the correct legal term.

As a start we should try not to be propaganda victims.

stupid ass judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380117)

Stupid ass judge is placing the entire internet at risk, as well as the PC. Any web server has the "potential to serve out copyrighted material illegally." So does any PC with networking turned on. According to the ultimate extension of his logic, any networked server or PC could become illegal simply by owning/using one. Dumb ass.

Leaving your back door open is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20380151)

You could make an argument that leaving your back door open is illegal under the "attractive nuisance" doctrine. Kazaa makes it so easy to steal, you might think, ah what the heck, why not?

Yes, it may be illegal... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380239)

Judge -- "Making Available" Is Stealing Music

Why, yes, right here [slashdot.org] somebody was correcting me on another subject, pointing out, that in Australia one can get be fined for leaving their car unsecured.

Similarly, people get all excited about gun-dealers not performing sufficient checks on their customers — never mind, that the dealer merely makes the "gun available", they are being sued [law.com] over the crimes committed by people, who bought it.

I've also heard the argument from some of the bleedier-heart Californians, that leaving one's car unlocked is racist, because it "seduces" a poor black person to steal it...

Can we, please, have some coherency here?

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